"This is just the vibe that I’m in right now. It’s a celebratory song to stunt on your haters. Talking about how back in the day they didn’t believe us and now they see. It’s just something everybody wants to sing to their doubters." This is the current mindset of British-Nigerian artist and producer Maleek Berry, and it dominates his new single ‘Flashy’.
Raised in South London, Berry has drawn inspiration from a number of outlets including his Nigerian heritage and the Caribbean community in which he grew up. "My Nigerian roots give me that extra edge when writing such as pidgin English but the most important thing is the sound. I always find a way to blend the sounds I grew up listening to as much as possible; the Fuji music from Nigeria, Ghana’s Highlife and some Caribbean influences so everything is full circle."
Working with numerous artists from the likes of Not3s, Wizkid and Davido, Maleek had a life-changing moment in Uganda when Kanye West freestyled over an unreleased beat of his. He cites Kanye as one of his influences regarding his producing as well as Pharrell, Roy Jerkins (Darkchild) and Don Jazzy. "I’m an R&B kid as well so Brandy is also a big influence to me."
Accessing different sounds has driven Maleek into the paths of artists you wouldn’t normally expect him to work with. His recent collaboration with Goldlink had him inflicting his sound into a song that would ensure him to be the name on everyone’s lips for all the right reasons. "Me and Goldlink are talking about doing a lot more songs together. It’s weird but it works!"
Regarding further collaborations, Maleek Berry has very huge names in mind such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Ed Sheeran to name the lease. "I have this thing where I want infiltrate pop culture with this Afro Fusion sound of mine and it’s better to execute it with bigger artists so that everyone gets exposed to the sound."
With his recent collaborations this doesn’t seem so far from reality for the South London star. A creator of good vibes, he is due to play at an amount of recognised festivals including Wireless.
Expectations reign high from fans and Maleek assures that he will deliver: "The same as my music, joy and vibes. If people are coming to slow dance, it’s not that. Just pure festival feels".
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Words: Debbie Ijaduola
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